Now, to make matters worse, a major magazine has published an article that suggests that your blood type determines what you should eat for dinner.
Last month's issue of Men's Fitness had a piece, in amongst the usual fare featuring weight-lifting tips, bullet points about how to drive your woman crazy in bed, and photographs of shirtless guys with washboard abs, entitled "Eat According to Your Blood Type." In the introduction to the article, the author, Lauren Passell, writes:
You feel like you’re doing everything right, health-wise. You eat salmon and quinoa, you exercise regularly, you even take the stairs. But if you're still plagued by midday lethargy, digestion issues or just can't lose weight, you might want to take something unorthodox into consideration—your blood type.Myself, I think my midday lethargy has nothing to do with my blood type, but more to do with the fact that my dog likes to wake me up at three in the morning because he has an urgent need to play tug-of-war. But let's see more of what D'Adamo has to say.
According to Dr. Peter J. D’Adamo, author of Eat Right 4 Your Type, whether you’re an A, B, AB or O, your blood type reveals eye-opening things about your personality and your body's needs. Here's what Dr. D'Adamo says about what foods and workouts will help you reach your blood type's fitness goals.
Type Os, he claims, are "descended from hunter-gatherers who relied mainly on animal protein to survive their strenuous lifestyles." He also says that Type O is the "original blood type."
Well, right away, this sent up a couple of red flags. Aren't we all descended from hunter-gatherers? It's not like some of us come from proto-hominids in Africa, and others of us come from fruit bats. And the thing about Type O being the "original blood type" is simply wrong. The gene that codes for Type O blood is actually a mutated version of the Type A allele -- it has a single-base loss (frameshift mutation) that turns one of the functional codons into a stop code, causing the premature shutoff of translation of the gene and preventing the creation of a functional A antigen. (The O allele, therefore, produces no functional gene product -- which is why it's recessive.) The A allele is pretty clearly the oldest of the three ABO blood group alleles.
So this leads us to one important conclusion, to wit: don't make silly claims about genetics, because someone who actually knows something about genetics will call you out on it.
Let's move on, though, because I'm sure you other blood types will want to know what to plan for dinner.
Type As, D'Adamo says, gained the upper hand when agriculture was invented and the "hunter-gatherer Os started thinning out." If you're Type A, you "have the digestive enzymes and bacteria it takes to digest grains and plants that other blood types might have a rough time breaking down." Type As should limit red meat and fill their plates with vegetables; the best meal for a Type A is "tofu-pesto lasagna." Type As also tend to have digestive upsets because they're "Type A personalities." (I want you to appreciate how hard it was for me to write that last sentence without doing a faceplant directly into my keyboard.)
Type Bs, on the other hand, "emerged when type Os moved to the Himalayas as nomads, domesticating animals and living on meat and dairy." He did get one thing right, here, in the manner of a monkey pounding on a typewriter and eventually spelling out a real word; Type B blood has its peak frequency in India. Otherwise, however, he's pretty much batting zero, because he says that Type Bs need lots of dairy products "because of a sugar present in milk," conveniently ignoring the fact that Type B is very common in East Asia, where the vast majority of people are also genetically lactose intolerant.
Type ABs, "the newest blood type," combine the characteristics of A and B (no surprise). Their "low stomach acid" makes them "store meat as fat," so they need to eat lots of eggs. I swear, I didn't make that claim up. Go to the article, which I've linked above, if you don't believe me.
What appalls me most about this is not that D'Adamo wrote a book. In these days of e-publishing, any yahoo with a computer can write a book. (Note my links on the right side of the page.) What bothers me is that a major magazine actually published this article, never once asking the critical question, "What is your evidence for all of this?" (Not to mention the more important question, "Where did you get your medical degree? Online Diplomas 'R' Us?") The problem is, a lot of people don't think of questioning something that is written by a guy with "Dr." in front of his name, especially those of us who don't have a great background in science. After all, the target readership of Men's Fitness is not scientists; it's just guys who would like to tone up and slim down (and drive their women crazy in bed). So I'm sure after this issue came out, you had loads of very earnest guys going through their fridges and making sure that their food was in line with their blood type, instead of doing the simple thing that all of us should do, which is to eat a balanced diet and get plenty of exercise. But of course, "eat a balanced diet and get plenty of exercise" isn't the kind of advice that sells books, or lands your ideas a national forum in a men's health magazine.
So, the bottom line; D'Adamo's claims are total horse waste. Myself, I'm glad, because I'm a Type A, and I'll be damned if I'm going to give up my t-bone steaks for "tofu-pesto lasagna."